B vitamins

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Health and medicine

Vitamin B is a complex of eight water soluble vitamins, active in cell metabolism. The name arises because it was once considered a single vitamin, much like Vitamin C or Vitamin D. Since later research has shown it is in fact a complex of chemically distinct vitamins that happen to often coexist in the same foods, the name has gradually declined in use, being replaced by the generic term "the B vitamins", the vitamin B complex, or by the specific names of each vitamin.

List of B vitamins

  • Vitamin B1, (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2, ( Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3, also Vitamin P or Vitamin PP ( Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5, ( Pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6, ( Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine)
  • Vitamin B7, also Vitamin H ( Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9, also Vitamin M and Vitamin B-c (Folic acid) - important for pregnancies
  • Vitamin B12, (Cyanocobalamin)

B vitamins deficiency

Several named vitamin deficiency diseases may result from the lack of sufficient B-vitamins.

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) deficiency causes Beriberi. Symptoms of this disease of the nervous system include weight loss, emotional disturbances, Wernicke's encephalopathy (impaired sensory perception), weakness and pain in the limbs, periods of irregular heartbeat, and edema (swelling of bodily tissues). Heart failure and death may occur in advanced cases. Chronic thiamine deficiency can also cause Korsakoff's syndrome, an irreversible psychosis characterized by amnesia and confabulation.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency causes Ariboflavinosis. Symptoms may include cheilosis (cracks in the lips), high sensitivity to sunlight, angular cheilitis, glossitis (inflammation of the tongue), seborrheic dermatitis or pseudo- syphilis (particularly affecting the scrotum or labia majora and the mouth), pharyngitis, hyperemia, and edema of the pharyngeal and oral mucosa.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiency, along with a deficiency of tryptophan causes Pellagra. Symptoms include aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion, and diarrhea. In advanced cases, pellagra may lead to dementia and death.

Deficiencies of other B vitamins result in symptoms that are not part of a named deficiency disease.

  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) deficiency can result in acne and Paresthesia, although it is uncommon.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) deficiency may lead to anaemia, depression, dermatitis, high blood pressure ( hypertension) and elevated levels of homocysteine.
  • Vitamin B7 deficiency does not typically cause symptoms in adults but may lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) deficiency results in elevated levels of homocysteine. Deficiency in pregnant women can lead to birth defects.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) deficiency causes pernicious anaemia, memory loss and other cognitive decline. It is most likely to occur among elderly people as absorption through the gut declines with age. In extreme (fortunately rare) cases paralysis can result.

Related nutrients

Other substances which are very similar in structure and function to the B vitamins have been discovered. Many of them are "essential" vitamins to various plants and animals which cannot synthesize their own. (The adjective "essential" in the context of medicine and nutrition refers to a nutrient being required because it cannot be made by the body. Non-"essential" nutrients are still important.) None of these are "essential" vitamins to humans, because humans can synthesize their own, though some only technically so (choline, for instance, can be metabolized in humans by cannibalizing cells to make use of the choline they contain, killing the cells in the process).

Many of the following substances have been referred to as vitamins because they were believed to be vitamins at one time. Most of them are vitamins with respect to certain plants and animals as well. While they are non-"essential" in that they may be synthesized by the body from other starting materials, they are still important. See also Orthomolecular medicine.

  • Vitamin B4 ( Adenine) –
  • Vitamin B7 "Vitamin I" of Centanni E. (1935) — more commonly called Vitamin B7 and also called 'Enteral factor' is a water and alcohol (ethanol & methanol) soluble Rice bran factor which prevents digestive disterbance in Pigions. It governes the anatomical and functional integrity of the intestineal tract. Later (1945) found in Yeast; Inositol, Nicotinic acid, & Biotin are possibles. Note: Carnitine has also been claimed but is not possible as it is insoluble in alcohol. Carnitine as Vitamin B7 was wrongly coped from Vitamin BT.
  • Vitamin B8 ( Ergadenylic acid) – also known as adenosine monophosphate
  • Vitamin B10 ( para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA)–
  • Vitamin B11 ( Pteryl-hepta-glutamic acid) – Chick growth factor, which is a form of Folic acid. Later found to be one of five folates necessary for humans); ( L-carnitine) in France.
  • Vitamin B13 ( Pyrimidinecarboxylic acid) – Also known as Orotic acid, often misspelled erotic acid.
  • Vitamin B14 – cell proliferant, anti-anaemia, rat growth, an antitumor pterin phosphate named by Earl R. Norris (biochemist of folic acid fame) isolated from human urine at 0.33ppm (later in blood), but later abandoned by him as further evidence did not comfirm this. He also clamed this was not Xanthopterin as the French do.
  • Vitamin B15 ( Pangamic acid) –
  • Vitamin B16 ( dimethylgycine) – also known as DMG. (However Lipoic acid was discovered and named a B-Vitamin after B15 and before B17)
  • Vitamin B17 ( Amygdalin) – proponents claim this is effective in cancer treatment and prevention and is commonly found in apricot kernels
  • Vitamin B18
  • Vitamin B19
  • Vitamin B20 ( Carnitine) –
  • Vitamin B21
  • Vitamin B22 – often claimed as an ingredient of Aloe vera extracts but also in many other foods. Claimed by one source to be Vitamin B12b-delta. first mentioned on internet in reference to Naturopath Linda Clark's book "Know your Nutrition"
  • Vitamin Bh – another name for( biotin)
  • Vitamin Bm ("mouse factor") – also used to designate Inositol
  • Vitamin Bp ( Choline) –
  • Vitamin Bt ( L-carnitine) –
  • Vitamin Bv – a type of B6 but not Pyrodoxine
  • Vitamin Bw – a type of Biotin but not d-Biotin
  • Vitamin Bx – another name for PABA ( para-Aminobenzoic acid)
  • Lipoic acid

Note: B16, B17, B18, B19, B20, B21 & B22 do not appear to be animal factors but are claimed by naturopaths as human therapedic factors.

Health benefits

The B vitamins often work together to deliver a number of health benefits to the body. B vitamins have been shown to:

  • Bolster metabolism
  • Maintain healthy skin and muscle tone
  • Enhance immune and nervous system function
  • Promote cell growth and division — including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anaemia.

Together, they also help combat the symptoms and causes of stress, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

All B vitamins are water soluble, and are dispersed throughout the body. They must be replenished daily with any excess excreted in the urine.

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